Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, perhaps the two highest-ranking legislators in America that believe in and promote right-wing conspiracy theories, have told their followers that they would look into the loopy claim that the Pentagon’s military exercise, Jade Helm 15, is a plot to take over the Southwest. Here’s Rand Paul:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said in a recent interview that he’d “look at” a planned U.S. military training exercise that conspiracy theorists believe may be a cover for the implementation of martial law.
Des Moines, Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson asked the Republican presidential candidate in an April 21 interview whether he was up to speed on the training exercise dubbed “Jade Helm” that’s scheduled to take place in several southwestern states.
“You know I’ve gotten a few questions about it on the road and I really don’t—” Paul responded. “I’m not sure about exactly what is going on with that.”
“It’s making some people nervous, but it doesn’t take much to make people nervous nowadays,” Mickelson said. “If you get a chance to, I’d like to know what the rest of the story is on that.”
“We’ll look at that also,” Paul assured him.
“My office has reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise,” said Cruz while appearing at the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention. “We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”
This is what happens when you court the paranoid far-right. You can’t say “That’s just ridiculous” when some wingnut asks you about it. You have to at least pretend to take it seriously and say that the concern is legitimate.